University of California, Irvine

Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships

Federal School Code 001314

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Frequently Asked Questions - Undergraduate

  • Basic Information about Financial Aid
    1. What is financial aid?
      1. Financial aid is money set aside by the Federal Government and State of California to help families pay for a college education. Financial aid can come in the form of grants, scholarships, work-study jobs, or loans. In order to be considered for financial aid, you need to fill out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). The FAFSA can be found online at
    2. Will financial aid pay for all of my expenses?
      1. Financial aid is intended to bridge the gap between what you and your family can afford to pay for college and the cost of college. Except in cases of exceptional need, it typically covers only a portion of the cost of college expenses. For a breakdown of UCI's costs, visit this page:
    3. Can my parents contact you about my financial aid?
      1. Yes, but you will need to first fill out a Consent for Release of Information form. You can print this out at or fill one out at the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships.
    4. Can financial aid help me with out-of-state tuition costs?
      1. If you choose to attend a university located outside of your home state, you may incur higher costs of tuition, as many states charge higher rates to out of state residents. While financial aid in the form of loans may help offset these higher costs, you are likely to still have to cover much of the additional cost.
    5. What if I have to withdraw from a term?
      1. Depending on the date of your withdrawal, you may have to return all or a portion of your financial aid for the term. You should contact the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships before you decide to withdraw just so you will be aware of the consequences.
    6. Are there financial aid programs for Veterans of the US Armed Forces?
      1. Yes, if you are a veteran or you are a dependent of a veteran, the UCI Veteran's Office is available to help you. For more information, go to or call (949) 824-3500.
  • Eligibility for Financial Aid
    1. How can I know if I qualify for financial aid?
      1. You should complete the FAFSA even if you think you may not qualify for federal financial aid. You never know what you might receive. The FAFSA is the key to unlocking financial aid in the form of grants, work-study, and loans. In order to be considered eligible for these programs, you must meet the following eligibility requirements:
    2. Do I have to be enrolled full-time to receive financial aid?
      1. No. You do not have to be enrolled full-time to receive most forms of financial aid. In some cases, if you are eligible for financial aid, the amount of aid you receive will be determined by the number of units you are enrolled in. Be aware that some grant programs require students to be enrolled at least half-time or full-time in order to be eligible.
    3. How do I apply for the UC Blue & Gold Opportunity Plan? Who is eligible and when are they awarded?
      1. You do not need to apply separately for the Blue & Gold program. We will determine your eligibility through the information presented on your FAFSA. To be eligible for the 2020-21 school year, the parents' income must be under $80,000 and the student must demonstrate financial need:
        Eligibility for the Blue and Gold Program is assessed around November. Your package will be revised if you are eligible for this program.
    4. What is Satisfactory Academic Progress?
      1. In order to maintain eligibility for financial aid, students must meet four academic standards: a GPA requirement, a pace requirement, a minimum cumulative unit requirement and a maximum timeframe requirement. For more information about SAP, read this document:
    5. Are non-US citizens eligible for federal financial aid?
      1. If you are not a US citizen, you still may be eligible for federal financial aid if you are determined to be an eligible non-citizen. Visit this site for more details:

        If you are neither a US citizen nor an eligible non-citizen but qualify for the AB540 fee exemption, you are not eligible for federal aid, but you may be eligible for state and institutional aid. Visit this site for more details about completing a California Dream Application:
    6. Are international students eligible to receive state or federal financial aid?
      1. No. International students are not eligible for federal and state financial aid programs. There are, however, a number of privately funded scholarship programs for International students. One useful online resource for International student scholarships is
  • Applying for Financial Aid
    1. What is the FAFSA?
      1. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the first step to applying for financial aid, including loans, grants and work study. It does not cost anything to apply for financial aid. Please visit to complete the form. UCI's school code is 001314. If you have any questions about the FAFSA or the financial aid process, representatives from the Financial Aid Office are available to help you, free of charge.
    2. When should I apply for financial aid?
      1. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is available every year on January 1st. It is recommended that you complete the FAFSA between January 1st and March 2nd (or the next business day if the 2nd falls on a weekend) to be considered for priority funding. List all schools you are considering. You do not need to already be accepted for admission to the university to submit the FAFSA. The latest date a student can apply for financial aid is June 30th of the following year (for example, June 30, 2021 for academic year 2020-21). You will need to apply for financial aid every year.
    3. I just filled out the FAFSA. What do I do next?
      1. Make sure you receive a confirmation email to verify submission. Then, it takes two to three business days for our office to receive your FAFSA. After we receive it, we will notify you what steps are next via email.
    4. How can I submit documentation to the financial aid office?
      1. You have several options of submitting documents to our office. We accept documents through mail, fax, or submitted in person. Unfortunately, we are unable to accept email attachments due to security reasons. Please include your Name and UCI Student ID Number on ALL documents you submit to our office.
        Mail or In Person: 102 Aldrich Hall, Irvine, CA 92697-2825
        Fax: (949) 824-4876 or (949) 824-6725
    5. What is an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and when do I have to pay it?
      1. This dollar amount appears on the SAR (Student Aid Report) you receive from completing a FAFSA. You do not need to pay this amount up front. It is merely an estimate in how much your family is able to contribute towards your education for the academic year. If you don't believe that you have the financial means to contribute this amount, you will be offered loans to cover this portion.
  • After You Apply for Financial Aid
    1. What if I have a significant drop in income or increase in expenses after I submit the FAFSA? How and when do I submit this information to your office?
      1. If you experience a significant change in your financial situation, you can submit a Special Circumstances Appeal to the financial aid office for the upcoming school year. You will need to contact our office for the appeal form and instructions. We will start reviewing the appeals in late summer. In order to ensure your fall fees are paid by the settlement deadline, you should pay with your own funds while you are waiting to hear the outcome of your appeal.
    2. What is verification, and who gets verified?
      1. Verification is a process where students are selected to turn in their tax and other household information from the previous year. We use this information to verify what you submitted on your FAFSA. If there are any discrepancies, then we will update your FAFSA to match the verified data.
  • Financial Aid Awards: Grants
    1. What is a grant?
      1. A grant does not have to be paid back. It is the best type of aid you can receive. It is important to remember that while grants are a great form of financial assistance, they do require you to fulfill certain responsibilities, such as staying in school and getting good grades. You may need to repay a grant if you reduce enrollment or withdraw from all courses during the semester after receiving financial aid.
    2. What is a Pell Grant?
      1. Pell Grants are federally-funded, need-based grants given to college students to help pay for college. Pell Grants can be awarded up to $6,195 for the 2020-21 school year. Pell Grants do not have to be paid back. Submit a FAFSA to be considered for a Pell Grant.
    3. What is a Cal Grant?
      1. Cal Grants are need-based grants given to California college students to help pay for college. They are funded by the State of California. You can receive up to $12,570 for the 2019-20 academic year to pay for college expenses at all qualifying California colleges and universities. Depending on which Cal Grant you receive, the money can be used for tuition, room and board - even books and supplies. To be considered for a Cal Grant, you must submit a FAFSA as well as a verified Cal Grant GPA to the California Student Aid Commission by March 2nd. For more information about the different types of Cal Grants and eligibility requirements, please visit the California Student Aid Commission web site at:
  • Financial Aid Awards: Scholarships
    1. What is a scholarship?
      1. A scholarship is a financial award given to a student on the basis of academic merit or some other talent. Some also take into account financial need. Like grants, scholarships do not have to be repaid.
    2. Where can I look for scholarships?
      1. There are many scholarship resources available; you just need to spend the time to look for them. A good place to start is your high school or college. Another great resource is your college library or local library, where you can find numerous scholarship books. Finally, there are many helpful online scholarship databases, such as:
    3. I received a scholarship that's not listed on my financial aid award. What do I need to do? And how will this affect my financial aid?
      1. Congratulations! You need to report your scholarship to us by logging in to My Aid:
        You can notify us of the scholarship under the "Report My Changes" tab. When revising your aid, we always try to reduce your loans first, unless the scholarship has specific restrictions.
    4. I only want to apply for a scholarship. Do I have to fill out the FAFSA?
      1. No, it is not required for most scholarship recipients. However, you should still fill one out to qualify for need based scholarships.
  • Financial Aid Awards: Work-Study
    1. What is Federal Work-Study?
      1. Federal Work-Study is a program that provides jobs for students who demonstrate financial need. Eligible students can apply for work-study jobs, usually on campus. To be considered for a Federal Work-Study job, you must complete a FAFSA. If you are awarded work-study, you are not required to use it. If you do choose to use it, you are not required to use all of it. Work-study students receive paychecks from their job sites every two weeks.
    2. Where can I find a work-study job on campus?
      1. The Career Center website has a job listing service called ZotLink at
  • Financial Aid Awards: Loans
    1. What is a loan?
      1. Unlike a grant or scholarship, a loan must be re-paid with interest over a period of years. Loans should be considered only after exhausting other options.
    2. What kinds of loans are available?
      1. Low-interest loans are made available to students and parents through the Federal government and UCI. Also, alternative loans are available from a variety of banks and lenders. The terms and rates for alternative loans are usually not as good as Federal Direct Loans or University Loans, but are a better option than using your credit card to pay your educational costs.
    3. What is a Direct Student Loan?
      1. The Direct Student Loan is an educational loan provided by the Federal Government. There are two types: subsidized and unsubsidized. As a student loan borrower, you may be eligible for one type or a combination of both. With subsidized loans, the federal government will pay the interest on this loan while you are enrolled in college at least half-time. Subsidized loans are only available to students who demonstrate financial need. With unsubsidized loans, you are responsible for paying the interest. Unsubsidized loans are not based on financial need. For more information, visit our Direct Loan information page:
    4. What is a Direct PLUS Loan?
      1. The PLUS Loan is an educational loan provided by the Federal Government to parents of dependent students. To be eligible for a PLUS Loan, parents must pass a credit check and must be either: a U.S. citizen or national, a U.S. permanent resident, or eligible non-citizen. In addition, students must be enrolled at least half-time in an eligible program of study. The maximum amount parents may borrow in a PLUS Loan is the difference between the Cost of Attendance and the amount their student receives in financial aid. For more information, visit our PLUS Loan information page:
  • Disbursement of Financial Aid
    1. When is my accepted financial aid applied to my fees?
      1. Your financial aid is applied to pay your fees about one month before the fee payment deadline. The remainder of your aid, if any, will stay in your Zot Account until the beginning of the term when funds are disbursed.
    2. What is DEFT and how do I enroll? Is it mandatory?
      1. DEFT allows you to choose how you want your financial aid remainder to be disbursed: mailed paper check, or direct deposit. You can enroll for either of these in your Zot Account at: (once logged in, look in the left hand side navigation bar)
        After fall term, you will not be able to receive any funds until you choose a method to receive your funds.
    3. I have already signed up for DEFT. When will I receive my remainder?
      1. You will not be able to receive your remainder until the beginning of each term. If you will owe rent before the term starts, you will need to pay this on your own.
    4. I accepted my loans, but I haven't received the funds. Is something wrong?
      1. Once you accept student or parent loans, please check your To-Do List by logging on to your My Aid:
        • For student loans, you must complete Entrance Counseling and a Master Promissory Note (MPN).
        • For parent loans, your parent must complete a MPN under their name and a Confirmation Sheet. While you must submit a new Confirmation Sheet with each parent loan, the Entrance Counseling and Promissory Notes are only required once. All of these steps can be completed online at, with the exception of the PLUS Confirmation Sheet, which we will mail to your permanent address.

(Reviewed 1/4/2019 - BS)


Hours: 10am-5pm Monday to Friday
102 Aldrich Hall, Irvine, CA 92697-2825
Tel: (949) 824-8262
Fax: (949) 824-4876 or (949) 824-6725

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About UCI
The State of California requires that you be told the following:
Federal student loans are available to most students regardless of income and provide a range of repayment options including income-based repayment plans and loan forgiveness benefits, which other education loans are not required to provide.